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What PC to get

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Cosme, Apr 6, 2007.

  1. Cosme

    Cosme Guest

    Hi I was wondering, what is the best option in PC to use in my recording studio, I know it's not the same as MAC but I'm not really ready to make the transition and spend a whole lot of money on new software, what do you think is the best option in PC for me?
  2. Big_D

    Big_D Well-Known Member

    Your question is very vague. You're going to need to provide some more info if you want help with this.

    What kind of music are you recording (live insturments or electronic/midi)

    How many tracks will you need to work with.

    If you use effects will they be plugins and how many at once.

    Give us some details and we'll give you some help.
  3. Cosme

    Cosme Guest

    I normally record live instruments and electronic but mostly with audio and some midi, I use mainly WAVES Diamond plugins and about 40 channels aproximately per session, Nuendo 3 and Reason 3
  4. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    IMHO, computers are not built for audio work, unless you buy one from a DAW builder. I roll my own because each component is important - the case, the power supply, the fans all contribute to how much noise the thing makes. How many slots of what kind on the motherboard - RAID anyone? - again, no superfluous fans. What kind of CD/DVD drive fits your bill?

    I figure out what I want and build it, and you won't find it at Best Buy.
  5. Blueraven

    Blueraven Active Member

    computer parts that work together

    Got this off another site. Guy is very knowledgable:

    I may build it myself.

  6. MC3DPCS

    MC3DPCS Active Member

    I've got a bunch of related issues so please bear with me. I have quite a bit of Mac experience, mostly imaging stuff. I've also built numerous Intel-based machines for imaging, audio, video, gaming, etc. I know that there are many Mac diehards and I do like Macs in many respects. But I can build a quad core PC pretty cheap right now and in another week or so, prices on Intel CPUs are set to have another large price drop.

    So I have a dilemma. I've been recording a five-piece rock band with a Core-duo laptop (1.73GHz if I remember right) controlling an M-Audio Projectmix. I'm running Cubase 4 and Live Lite 5 and have been getting pretty good performance with the occasional glitch. Then I decided I wanted more simultaneous inputs so I picked up an M-Audio Octane. I managed to get it up and running but I think it choked my laptop because I started getting drop-outs and crashes.

    So the tax return is coming soon and I can afford to get a good computer for the home studio rig and I'm trying to decide on PC vs Mac. If the Intel price drop rumors are correct, by the end of the month, the quad core Kentsfield (2.4GHz) will be around $400 and the 2.66GHz chip will be around $500. So I could put together a monster rig for about $2K with a decent video card, plenty of RAM, a couple of big HDs, good quiet fans, quiet case, etc. A similarly speced Mac looks to be in the $3.5K range.

    I could even go cheaper with a dual core box since the C2Duo E6600 will soon be around $160. I'm thinking this will be plenty adequate for recording 16 simultaneous tracks. Any input about making these choices would be appreciated.
  7. Any of the latest dual core offerings are more than capable of recording 16 tracks at the same time, it's what you want to do to them after that is the hard bit!

    Interms of an audio PC you want a balanced system, the load on recording and playing back loads of tracks at the same time is on the hard drives, the motherboard and soundcard/drivers. I would say that the core duo option will give you plenty of power for most projects.

    Your laptop hard disk would have been a slower rpm then you find in a desktop PC which would have caused you problems, also you would have been running your OS of the same disk as you were streaming all that audio.

    So make sure you get a system which has a small OS drive (80gb is fine) and then a couple of fast audio drives for your samples and your audio, in a raid 0 if you are moving alot of audio around (large sample libaries, lots of tracks playing back and recording)
  8. MC3DPCS

    MC3DPCS Active Member

    Interesting to see your view on using small OS drives. I built a few image/video editing boxes over the last year and did just that. I got a very good deal on a bunch of 74 and 150GB Raptors and picked up six of each. I have two of each left and had planned to use them if I built a PC for audio. The plan was to use one 74GB drive for the OS plus apps, one for swap space and the two 150s for recording and editing space. I also have a couple of 750GB Seagates laying in waiting that were to be set up as a RAID1 array for archiving. I'd planned to put them in the same case as the recording PC but now I'm thinking about putting them in a separate enclosure set up as a NAS in a different room.

    Thanks for the input - I'm now leaning towards the DIY PC approach for my main recording rig. I stopped by a local Apple store and asked to talk to their audio guru, then asked him to tell me why I should buy a Mac desktop instead of building my own PC and saving a ton of money in the process. He basically said that Macs work great for people that don't know how to set up PCs right. My, how times have changed...
  9. Ballz

    Ballz Guest

    While the topic is hot, what is the best hard drive configuration in your experience? I'm talking live audio, recording 16 or so tracks simultaneously, mixing 32+ avec plug-ins galore. Raid 1, 2, 10....??
  10. Raid 3 would be my choice, although you will need a PCI/PCI-e raid controller but it uses only 3 drives and the hard part of a rebuild is handled buy the controller.

    You've also got Raid 10 to consider and this will be on most motherboards already.
  11. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Raid is a complete waste for most audio users.
    Nuendo/Cubase/PT all can write to seperate drives.
    EG: track 1-60 drive E, 61-120 Drive F
    and samples should ALWAYS be on their own drive never sharing a raid array with audio.

    the only time raid 0 is needed is for very high track count live recording
    EG: 80-192 tracks.

    or large projects with 96K.
    a single drive can do over 100 tracks @ 48k.

    disk streaming samples can benefit from raid.

    redundant raid is pointless, back you projects up an ext disks.

  12. I would agree for recording studios/home use but the question was about live audio, having the saftey net of one drive being able go down and still carry on recordnig could be a big plus during a gig etc.

    For backup I would always say to go with NAS or firewire drive options, you have to backup away from the computer for any sort of peace of mind.
  13. Blueraven

    Blueraven Active Member

    what's a NAS?
  14. Network Attached Storage:)
  15. Blueraven

    Blueraven Active Member

    I have an old 90's era compaq server type EISA bus machine. IT has SCSI drive in it. Even tho it runs Win95, the drives seems to be faster than the ide in newer computers riunning WInXP.

    Guess i cld put them in a storage caddy and get a scsi(psi) card to use them.

    I wonder if they still make scsi controllers as part of mobos these days?
  16. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    we do a lot of live rigs. 128 track madi systems.
    best rule is redundant rigs. not redundant drives.
    most live on tour guys will have some 2nd back up like adat machines

  17. MC3DPCS

    MC3DPCS Active Member

    I understand where you're coming from. I built a server for our home network that has a six disc RAID 10 array using 400GB drives. I like RAID10 because it's fast and fully redundant. I keep our entire digital image archive there as well as ~300GB of MP3s and master copies of completed video projects. Hard drives are super cheap these days, even RAID-specific drives like those I'm using. Still, I use external discs to back up everything as you suggest. It's great to have backups that have no path to AC spikes. I learned the hard way.
  18. My position would be, with drives so cheap now you can have a raid 10 running for an extra £80 so why not have redundant drives and if budget allows a redundant rig?

    Anyway I think we are going to have to agree to disagree on this one!
  19. anonymous

    anonymous Guests


    my HTPC i have 1 TB of storage. one of the 2 500G is imaged. (stuff we want to keep) the other is 500 is more temp.

    on our webserver/file server i use Raid 5 (to me the only good raid) and i have a redundant system.

    1) i have HOT swap if 1 drive dies
    2) i have an up to date daily, complete system to switch to should the other poop out.
    3) both servers and the linux firewall each have imaged drives to another drive (that we switch out weekly) and an image on DVD's
    now thats back up!

    the issue i have with raid (even on a good controller and the only way i agree with it) is raid arrarys can be tempermental.
    i have seen just 1 drive die and take the raid 0+1 with it. unable to rebuild or recover.
    ask Chuck Ainlay!

    i have also sent out numerous raid 0 for live and i dont think we have ever had 1 fail.

    personally i dont recommend it unless nessesary.

    on the other hand i had my samples drives in raid 0 for 3 yrs.


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